Hi everyone! My name is Kady Dennis, and I am a sophomore at Penn State, Main Campus, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minoring in Microbiology. I am also a Schreyer Honors College student who is active in a research lab. I am writing this with the hopes of giving you a glimpse of what my experience has been thus far in the Schreyer Honors College, both academically and socially.
The opportunities that come with being a student in the Honors College start even before classes begin with what they call SHO Time. You start by moving in on the Wednesday before classes start, which is 2-3 days before most freshmen and upperclassmen get to move into their dorms. This makes the move-in process much smoother since you are not fighting the other 40,000 students trying to move-in. Then, for the next two days, you spend time learning a bit about the college, but mostly, you spend a lot of time getting to know your fellow incoming honors freshmen through different small and large group activities. Between this and your specific Schreyer Honors College New Student Orientation (NSO), you are bound to make plenty of friends you will only become closer to throughout your college experience. You will end up having classes with many of the students you meet during SHO Time down the line as you will be taking honors courses together. I enjoyed SHO Time a lot, especially certain activities, like the game show night and the closing ceremony they do on the final day! Just be prepared to have busy days packed from morning until dusk! They ran me so ragged that I was sick come the first day of classes!
-Old Main Building at Penn State-
Academically, the Honors College affords students lots of opportunities. First, you get to take honors-specific courses, which despite the rigor, offer smaller class sizes and a chance to make an easy personal connection with a professor. Second, being in the Honors College can help when it comes to trying to get into a research lab. Most professors know that all honors students need to write a thesis when they graduate, so they will sometimes give preference to honors students when selecting undergraduate researchers. I actually earned my position in my lab through my honors English professor who set me up to tour her husband’s lab, and I have been here ever since! Third, Schreyer offers a lot of really cool events to help their students succeed. The Honors College holds Distinguished Honors Faculty Programs, where they usually provide free food and present interesting topics to students in small group settings in order to get to know the faculty member presenting and learn something new. I am signed up to go to one where they will soon have a presentation on using monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy. Some other events include study abroad information sessions, Donuts with the Dean, the Schreyer formal, and even tailgates for football games! They will inform you about them all, but you get to choose which you want to go to!
-Penn State Football Game at the Beaver Stadium, Ranked #7 Best Stadium in College Football-
Socially, the Schreyer Honors College forms very tight-knit communities, especially in the Globe, a special living option within the Schreyer special living option. A lot of students find comfort in the community, and their whole friend group will be honors students. Others will only have one friend in the Honors College while the rest of their group is not. The way I like to think of it is that it is there if you want to be a part of it, but if not, there are plenty of other students here at Penn State to be friends with. There are also a lot of Schreyer-specific clubs to get involved in, such as Schreyer for Women, a club that I love and am a part of.
When it comes down to it, I love being a Schreyer Honors College student because of all the opportunities it provides me with, academically and socially, on top of everything else Penn State has to offer. They somehow have managed to take a large campus and make it feel like a small homey one. I could not be happier that I ended up here! I hope that after reading all this, you will decide to join us here at Penn State soon! WE ARE!
Kady Dennis is a sophomore in the Schreyer Honors College at The Pennsylvania State University. She is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minoring in Microbiology at the Eberly College of Science.